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Netherlands Suspend UNWRA Funding; UNRWA Urges Donors to Reconsider Funding Cuts; Two Masked Gunmen Kill Men during Service; Carroll on Court Showdown with Trump; Prince of Wales back Home after Surgery. Aired 9-9:45a ET

Aired January 29, 2024 - 09:00   ET




ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Happening this hour in Washington D.C., U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting with

Qatari Foreign Minister this coming after a weekend of hostage talks failing to result in a deal due to significant gaps. We'll update you on

the story as it happens.

It is 6 pm here in Abu Dhabi. I'm Eleni Giokos. This is "Connect the World". And we'll be covering the other major stories from the region

including further tension after a drone attack killing three U.S. troops in Jordan. And the fallout from funding cuts to UNRWA in response to

allegations that a dozen staff members were involved in the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7th.

All right, with those regional tensions investors will be keeping a close eye on oil prices. The markets in New York will be open in around 30

minutes from now, as you can see, we're basically flat across the board, a lot of nervousness getting into this trading week.

And then importantly looking forward to that Federal Reserve decision next week on interest rates that were very telling about the inflation prognosis

going forward and what they anticipate and oil of course, very much at the crux of that. And a lot of this, of course has to do in terms of what we

see in the Middle East in terms of any kind of escalation, any spillover that will be a cause of concern.

In the meantime, U.S. President Joe Biden vowing to respond to a deadly drone attack in Jordan that killed three American troops now it happened at

a remote outpost not far from Jordan's border with Syria. The U.S. blames Iranian-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq. Iran is

distancing itself from the attack calling U.S. accusations of its involvement baseless.

Now, this latest deadly incident furthering escalating tensions in the region, nearly four months into the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. We've got

Paula Hancocks in studio with us today to give us a breakdown of what we've been seeing. Look, we know President Biden saying that he will respond.

We don't know where? We don't know how? We don't know how intense it'll be? We don't know what the makeup will be? But this was definitely escalatory

the strike that we saw.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Eleni. And President Biden will already have had a number of options put on his desk ahead of this

actually happening. This would have been potentially predicted or certainly worried about because the fact is U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria have had

almost 160 attacks against them since October 17th since just after that.

So there will be a number of different options. It depends on how far he wants to go? Certainly he is under pressure to go a little further. What we

did hear from John Kirby just a couple of hours ago about what those potential options could be. Let's listen.



series of attacks now increasingly lethal, over weeks and months, which is why the President is going to be reviewing with the appropriate responses

going forward.

We don't want to see these attacks continue. And we want to make it clear that they're unacceptable. We also want to make it clear that we'll do what

we have to do to protect our troops, our facilities, our national security interests in the region. Those are the options that the president is

weighing right now. We're going to take this very, very seriously.


HANCOCKS: Now, of course, the U.S. has been trying not to escalate the situation since October 7th and the Hamas attacks in Israel, everything

they have been doing they say has been to make sure that this is contained.

GIOKOS: Yeah, really fascinating. I mean, what we also know is that Iran has distanced itself from this strike. But we know there's an umbrella

group that is involved in this and as we just heard from John Kirby as well. Look, there is no appetite for real escalation here but beyond the

cusp of it seems depending on what the U.S. chooses to do.

HANCOCKS: Iran at this point as you say it has denied being involved in the attack. And the fact is Iran, Tehran may not have known about the specific

attack. They may not have had any operational input whatsoever.


So at this point it's like they have plausible deniability because it is an Iranian-backed umbrella group as you say, the Islamic resistance in Iraq.

It is an umbrella group and there are dozens of groups potentially in Iraq underneath this one group.

They are believed to be Iranian funded, many of them trained, equipped by Iran. But Iran is able to say well, we didn't know about that particular

attack because they may not have specifically known. But the fact is that these groups are ideologically linked.

They are financially linked, and they are militarily linked to Tehran and its -- which part of that the U.S. wants to focus on and whether or not

they will go further than they have done which they are under pressure to do so.

GIOKOS: Look and what we've been seeing over the weekend is a lot of Republicans saying look strike Iran now. It'll be an interesting decision

from President Biden, what he chooses to do. And of course, we'll be keeping talks on that. Paula Hancocks, great to see you, thank you so much.

All right, in the next few minutes, the U.S. Secretary of State is set to meet with Qatar's Prime Minister. It comes after a weekend meeting in

Europe between the U.S., Qatar, Israel and Egypt aiming to secure a hostage deal and pause fighting in Gaza. Israel's Prime Minister's Office says that

meeting was constructive, but that, quote, significant gaps remain.

National Chief Security Correspondent we've got Alex Marquardt joining us now from Washington. We know that John Kirby had said a lot of work still

needs to be done. And he says, for a truce to get hostages out and aid in. But how close are we because it feels like momentum has been building when

it comes to these latest negotiations?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah Eleni, by all accounts, momentum is building. The talks have been productive. But

none of the parties are saying that we are on the cusp of an imminent deal. We will see the Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting with the Qatari

Prime Minister in just, under half an hour's time.

And the focus of those meetings is going to be at least in part to build on that significant meeting that we saw just yesterday in Paris with the CIA

Director Bill Burns meeting with his Egyptian and Israeli counterparts, as well as the Qatari Prime Minister Al Thani.

So we are -- I've been told by a source that the meeting yesterday was positive that we have been told that in the past few weeks, the movement

has been productive. But everybody cautioning as the Israeli Prime Minister said that significant gaps remain. Here's a little bit of what the White

House's John Kirby had to say earlier today how he described it.


KIRBY: I want to be careful here, I don't want to sound too sanguine. There's a lot of work that has to be done to try to get another hostage

deal in place that would result in a significant pause in the fighting, which would allow not only the hostages to get out, but aid to get in and

bring down civilian casualties.

There's a lot of promise here. And there's been very good discussions with the countries with the Egyptians with the Israelis. But we're not over the

finish line right yet. And so I can't tell you here this morning on Monday that we've got to deal with that's imminently about to be announced. But we

feel pretty good about the discussions and where they're going and the promise of something potentially pretty significant.


MARQUARDT: Eleni, the U.S. is so focused on this because they see a hostage deal as a way to really bring the fighting to slow it down. What something

pretty significant would look like is a two month pause in the fighting, the more than 100 Israeli hostages released in phases Palestinian prisoners


But Eleni, there is still a major sticking point between Hamas and Israel and that Hamas wants a comprehensive deal to end this war. And Israel is

not committing to fully ending their fight against Hamas, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Alex Marquardt, thank you so much for that update. So what can you do if you're concerned about what's happening in the Middle East. You can

log on to CNN's website for to check in on to your phone. We've got CNN app, and you see what the U.S. and Iran are doing to operate on the

dangerously close confrontations in the Middle East.

Still to come on CNN as well as Moscow pours more money into its war in Ukraine. Will explain how Russians are starting to feel the economic impact

at home. Plus, gunman opened fire inside a Catholic Church in Istanbul next will tell you who police think is behind this attack. We'll be right back,

stay with CNN.



GIOKOS: The United Nation's Relief Agency UNRWA is urging donor countries to reconsider cutting funding. The cuts are in response to allegations that

a dozen staff members were involved in the attacks on October 7th. So far 13 countries have suspended funding including its top donors, the United

States and Germany that makes up 46 percent of UNRWA funding alone.

Now UNRWA has opened an investigation and fired nine staffers over the allegations. One person alleged to have taken part is now dead, and the

organization is clarifying the identities of the remaining two. The organization is one of the largest employers in the Enclave providing jobs

for some 13,000 people. More than 2 million people are relying on aid from them according to the head of the organization.

Now the Netherlands has also suspended funding at least for now the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Geoffrey van Leeuwen said the

allegations are simply too serious. We first need to know the full results of this investigation and what further steps the United Nations will take.

UNRWA receives over $20 million from the Dutch that regular contribution has already been paid this year. And Minister Van Leeuwen joins me now

live. Minister, great to have you with us, thank you so much for your time.


GIOKOS: You know we've already ascertained that you've already paid the $20 million already to UNRWA. So that's done and dusted for the year. But the

question that comes in, this is the question to all donors why freeze funding and pull funding while the investigation is still on the go?

VAN LEEUWEN: Now, because simply put these accusations are so serious that we have no other choice than to freeze. Actually, we not only paid 20

million this year, last month I added another 10 million as well. So we paid already 30 million upfront for this year so that we had no other


We really want clarification from the U.N., from UNRWA how this could have happened to? What the extents of the accusations are? And we need really

more information.

GIOKOS: So what are you looking for in the investigation and the outcome for you to resume funding? What are you anticipating or hoping for?

VAN LEEUWEN: I don't know I hope it will be limited the outcome of the investigation that is only these two, but really we need to know more. And

I can't speculate all the outcomes. But let me also say this, that the Netherlands one of the major donors of the U.N. and UNRWA, but also a major

donor to the Palestinian authorities.

We don't want to see a collapse of the Palestinian authorities. We don't want to see collapse of the West Bank. And obviously we also don't want to

see a lesser, a fewer humanitarian aid going into Gaza. So together with, our friends and allies, we will closely monitor what is happening in Gaza.


So we have to keep up humanitarian support, but we really need a really quick answer from UNRWA that I'm actually I'm talking to the Head of UNRWA

this week and my staff is talking to them to get more clarification.

GIOKOS: I want you to listen to what the UNRWA Chief Philippe Lazzarini says about the removal of aid. He says UNRWA lifesaving assistance is about

to end following countries decisions to cut their funding humanitarian operation on which 2 million people depend as a lifeline in Gaza is


I'm shocked such a decision has been taken based on alleged behavior of the few individuals as the war continues and needs are deepening and famine

looms. Palestinians in Gaza did not need this additional collective punishment. What is your response to that? Because he's equating this move

of donors pulling out as collective punishment on 2 million people that UNRWA supports.

VAN LEEUWEN: What I said as it that as being one of the biggest donors on humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, I don't follow this. These

accusations are so serious that we need answers.

Let's focus now on the quick investigations with correct and full answers and then look forward. But we will remain one of the biggest donors to the

Palestinians and the humanitarian situation in Gaza -- follow reasoning.

GIOKOS: So Minister, I mean you went to Rafah border on the 20th of December as you say, you've been very involved in getting aid into Gaza.

You're saying you're going to be giving aid in different ways through different mechanisms. How do you see that happening very quickly?

So that there's no interruption and also what does that mean in terms of the value chain? Will it touch UNRWA in some way, given that they are

sheltering so many people?

VAN LEEUWEN: Yeah well, let me first say that, of course, there still are Dutch contribution has already been paid. Other countries have repaid as

well. So I think they can continue for some bit. We are not actually looking into the humanitarian situation, what would it mean?

What are the consequences? Yes, we're working with other organizations like the Red Cross as well. Let's see what it means. And let's see if we can

find ways to support to Gaza. But let's focus on getting this investigation and getting some clarity so we can move forward.

GIOKOS: I understand the urgency of this investigation, because the dossier is really describing heinous acts. And it's very serious, because you know

it has to do with October 7th, which is important. But the other side of this emergency is that people are dealing with famine, very close to the

brink of famine.

We've heard it from Archer. We've heard it from the U.N., from other organizations as well. That is the reality that people are facing. Does

that not worry you in terms of weighing up whether to pull funding?

VAN LEEUWEN: Absolutely, it worries a lot. And that's why you're putting so much focus on putting humanitarian aid into Gaza. But that first point, you

made I have to think about the Dutch taxpayer, who was horrified, but by the events of 7th October to listen, that maybe universe staff has been

involved as a major factor as well.

But to conclude, we will not let the people of Gaza down. The Netherlands and other donors will continue to support them. I have no concern about

that at all.

GIOKOS: So are you talking to other donors as well? Are you working together to figure out a new mechanism? And was freezing funding to UNRWA a

multilateral decision, so to speak, or coordinated action between you.

VAN LEEUWEN: No, I don't think it was coordinated. And I think we all took that decision, because of the shock we had from those reports. Our staffs

are in coordination also with the U.N. and UNRWA and other donors to see what we can do to work this out.

GIOKOS: Totally understand that. You know, and I think this is what UNRWA Philippe Lazzarini has also said, you know, these are potential actions of

12 employees, with staff of around 13,000 people.

And you know this announcement came through literally as the ICJ decision, the International Court of Justice, interim verdict, talking about the

extensive need to quickly get more aid in. Are you worried about Israel meeting the decision by the ICJ to allow more aid in given the pulling of

funding from UNRWA?

VAN LEEUWEN: Well, we have to see what Israel does with the court case. We hope that they will follow it in terms of humanitarian exit and

humanitarian aid. I just want to emphasize. We will do all we can to make sure that people of Gaza get humanitarian aid.

GIOKOS: All right, Minister, thank you so much. I'm going to just ask you one last question. In terms of the wider scope of things, and of course,

the world is watching on very closely, what is going on? Are you generally very concerned about what we've been seeing regionally playing out the

potential of spillover? And how is the Netherlands viewing the latest events that we've been seeing regionally?


VAN LEEUWEN: Absolutely concerned about escalation. We've seen Iran backed organizations attacking our allies. We've seen the Houthis attack our

shipping lanes. I mean, the Netherlands is a number six maritime nation. So for us, it's very concerning to see that escalation. That's why also we

support U.S. and U.K. action to send major messages to the Houthis and make sure that the threat disappears. We're definitely concerned it's very

volatile situation.

GIOKOS: All right, Minister Geoffrey van Leeuwen, great to have you on. Thank you for your time and for your insights today.

VAN LEEUWEN: Thank you, my pleasure. Thank you. Bye! Bye!

GIOKOS: All right now, we are learning of possible new -- in the Middle East according to state media. Syria says Israel struck several locations

south of the capital. Several civilians reportedly were killed and wounded. Iranian media reports Israel attacked one of its military advisory centers.

But an Iranian Diplomat denies this and says there were no Iranians killed. The Israeli Defense Forces has not commented on the report. Now police in

Turkey fanned out arresting almost 50 People in connection with a deadly attack on a Catholic Church in Istanbul. Two gunman opened fire during

Sunday services killing one person.

The security footage showing a pair of men leaving the church afterwards, the extremist group ISIS is claiming responsibility after followers were

urged to target Christians and Jews. We are learning that the victim was Muslim. CNN's Scott McLean is following developments from Istanbul where he

has the latest for us, Scott, great to see you. Take us through this incident and what we've learned, particularly about the intent here.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure, so Eleni, yeah, this had happened about two thirds of the way through the massive service which was being

held at this Catholic Church on the northern outskirts of Istanbul and we can show you the security tape from inside of the church, we are only

showing you the aftermath.

But the part that we are not showing you shows the moment where two masked gunmen walk into the church immediately shoot one person and then it was

literally seconds later that they leave. The video that you are seeing may look like empty pews. But there are actually people who are underneath of

those pews taking shelter.

They quickly when it's all over, shut the door and then some of them are seeing coming up for some safety. Now the attack was later claimed by ISIS,

as you mentioned, according to the Interior Minister, one was from Russia. One was from Tajikistan, and we don't have any more information about their


But we do know that according to an ISIS affiliate media outlet, ISIS claimed that they were doing this in response to a call from ISIS that went

out on audio recording weeks ago, calling on ISIS members and sympathizers to attack Jews and Christians everywhere. The victim was a 52 year old

Muslim man as you mentioned.

The local bishop explained why he was in the church in the first place to our colleagues at CNN Turk. He said that he was curious about the church.

He had been going for several weeks and he was obviously well liked and well accepted at that church. But he was not a baptized as a Catholic, yet

he was more curious than anything.

We also know that the funeral service has actually been held today. It's interesting to note that a very quick funeral, very quick burial is in line

with Islamic tradition. Officials from the Mayor's office right up to the President of this country have been very quick to condemn this kind of

attack, pointing out that there are many religions that practice peacefully in Istanbul every single day.

It's also worth noting, Eleni, that this set off a manhunt. Those two suspects were caught some 11 hours after this attack actually took place.

But there were also 47 other people that were arrested in 30 different raids according to the Interior Ministry, and this is the kind of thing

that officials here have been trying so hard to prevent in recent years.

The Interior Minister says that since last summer, there have been more than 400 people arrested in operations or raids targeting ISIS. The

Catholic Church in this city, Eleni, is also quite diverse. Yes, of course, there are Turkish people who attend in Turkish but many masses are also

offered in English and in other languages.

Case in point this particular service was actually attended by the Polish Consulate General who according to the local district Mayor was there with

his children. The President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to him by phone afterwards to wish him condolences, Eleni?


GIOKOS: All right, Scott McLean, thank you. Let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now. Tractors and other

farming equipment have reportedly begun blocking some roads in and around Paris. France's farmers have been protesting for more than a week. They

want better pay and working conditions and protections against cheap imports.

Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso have announced they are leaving the Economic Community of West African States. But the block known as ECOWAS says it has

not received formal notification. ECOWAS has refused to recognize the military Juntas leading Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso and urge them to

return to democratic rule.

Iran executed four men on Monday accused of spying and planning attacks for Israel spy agency Mossad. The four were convicted of planning to bomb a

factory associated with Iran's defense ministry in the city of Isfahan. But a Kurdish human rights group says the men were political prisoners who did

not receive proper legal representation.

Ukraine says it has uncovered a multimillion dollar weapons corruption scheme. Officials say the Ukrainian military paid nearly $14 million to an

arms supplier for weapons in late 2022. But 100,000 mortar rounds in that deal were never received. Instead, some of that money landed in foreign

accounts. Officials say five people have been indicted including a former Defense Ministry official and authorities are still looking for others.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is returning to the Pentagon for the first time in nearly a month, he's going to meet with NATO Secretary

General Jens Stoltenberg. Austin spent two weeks in the hospital after complications from prostate cancer surgery. His stay in the hospital was

not initially disclosed to President Joe Biden or the media and we'll keep an eye on this meeting today and bring you details of all of that a little

bit later.

Right just ahead, the opening bell is on Wall Street and a new blow to investor confidence in China. What the infamous property giant Evergrande

has been ordered to do to shed some of its monstrous debt? We'll be right back.



GIOKOS: Welcome back. As the New York stock exchange rings in a new day and here you see international sports betting and gambling company Flutter

Entertainment, ringing the bell as it celebrates its listing, always fun on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. As you can see, there markets

just start to trade. Let's take a look to see where we stand right now.

Futures were showing a very muted start to the trading day and this is reflected in the opening numbers. Dow Jones slightly lower, NASDAQ and S&P

were like positive bias. But here's the reality, you've got big tech earnings out today, people are looking forward to the Federal Reserve.

Interest rates announcement next week, major concerns about what oil prices are going to do and how that will feed into inflation, so a bit of

nervousness going into this week.

That being said, markets have been doing very well since the start of the year, perhaps taking off a little bit of that steam as well. So all of this

is playing quite a big role in terms of what we've been seeing coming through today. Now moving on to China, where investor confidence is taking

a fresh hit with a familiar name attached.

Hong Kong's high court has ordered the battle Chinese property giants Evergrande Group to liquidate the company has more than $300 billion in

debt and failed to reach a restructuring deal with its overseas creditors. The liquidation order only appears to apply to Evergrande assets in Hong

Kong. Its fate in mainland China, where it is based remains unclear. Kristie Lu Stout has more on the Evergrande ruling and the real estate

crisis that's weighing on China's economy.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Evergrande the world's most indebted developer is heading to liquidation. On Monday, a judge here in Hong Kong,

ruled to liquidate the Chinese company after years of failed attempts to restructure it. Our Hong Kong judge Linda Chan said, "It is time for the

court to say enough is enough". And before the hearing Evergrande shares are trading down as much as 20 percent, trading was halted in China

Evergrande and its listed subsidiaries.

For years now Evergrande has been the poster child of China's property debt crisis. It is the world's most indebted property developer with more than

$328 billion of liabilities and $240 billion of assets. And last year in September, it's Founder and Chairman Xu Jiayin was suspected of crimes and

detained by the police. Analysts say that the decision to liquidate this company is good news for China's economy in the long run, but it will be


Now according to Andrew Collier of orient Capital Research, he says this quote, Evergrande's liquidation is a sign that China is willing to go to

extreme ends to quell the property bubble. This is good for the economy in the long term, but very difficult in the short term.

Now Gary Ng, Senior Economist of Natixis adds this quote, it is not an end, but the beginning of the prolonged process of liquidation which will make

Evergrande's daily operations even harder. Investors will be concerned about whether there will be a snowball effect on other developers as the

queue to liquidation is long.

And in 2021 Evergrande triggered a market panic when it couldn't make its debt payment and China's real estate market has yet to recover. It accounts

for as much as 30 percent of the country's economic activity. And more than two thirds of Chinese household wealth is tied up in real estate. Kristie

Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.

GIOKOS: We will continue to post updates on the story with more context as well as analysis including the role of a dysfunctional legal partnership

between Hong Kong and mainland China and how that could impact either grants creditors worldwide. It's all in our latest piece from CNN Business

head over there to read all about it.

E. Jean Carroll is speaking out about her court battle against Former U.S. President Donald Trump. The advice columnist sounding incredulous accused

Trump of using his recent court appearance as a campaign stopped. Carroll was awarded tens of millions of dollars after Trump was found liable for

sexual assault and defamation in a civil trial. Here she is talking to CNN's Poppy Harlow earlier today.


E. JEAN CARROLL, AWARDED $83.3 MILLION IN DAMAGES IN CASE AGAINST TRUMP: I hadn't seen him since he assaulted me in the dressing room and preparing to

see him was terrifying. And then when we were in the courtroom and Robbie went to the lectern, she said good morning, E. Jean, please state your name

and spell it for the jury, for the court. And there he was. And he was nothing. Just no power he had, he was zero. That was -- I was




GIOKOS: Well, Carroll says the damages she was awarded will go to good use, she's pledging to use the money for women's rights causes. Now ahead in

sports, the Super Bowl matched up and with some familiar faces returning to the big game. And one very high profile fan is cheering on the sidelines.

We will bring you that update in just a bit, stay with CNN.


GIOKOS: Welcome back. Catherine the Princess of Wales is back home from the hospital. She was admitted two weeks ago for planned surgery to her

abdomen. Kensington Palace says the 42-year-old is making good progress.

A royal source says, when she returns to her royal duties will depend on what doctors have to say down the road. CNN Royal Correspondent Max Foster

joins me now for an update. Do we know how she's doing Max?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Good progress is all we're being told. But that's positive news, of course. We're not being given any detail about

why she had the surgery, but we do know that she's been in for 13 days, so quite a recovery time that hasn't been explained either. And then we're

told that she'll be going home for this period of recuperation. Prince William will be supporting her.

He's staying off work in order to do that. And she was actually at the same hospital as King Charles; he remains there as far as we know. The hospital

is actually surrounded by photographers untold, so pretty remarkable. She managed to get out of it without any of the photographer's seeing.

But they've been very careful about protecting their privacy, sharing a bit of information, but not wanting photographers taking pictures of her or her

family. So she's back at home now in Windsor, which is the home they stay in because it's near the school during term time. And I'm sure she'll be

very happy to be back with the kids.

GIOKOS: Yes, I'm sure I mean we were discussing this actually that her time in hospital was significant in the greater scheme of things. But let's talk

about King Charles; he was actually quite open about his issues with enlarged prostate and you know, being treated for that. Take us through

what you know on that.

FOSTER: Well, he went in on Friday for a procedure for an enlarged prostate and we haven't had any update since. So we're assuming he's still in the

hospital again, he hasn't been seen leaving the hospital. The Queen was there yesterday visiting.


We're told we won't be getting any more detail on exactly what that procedure involves. But as we've talked about the -- it has had a huge

impact in terms of awareness. Because the National Health Service has received, you know a large number of inquiries ever since he announced that

he had this enlarged prostate.

He said he wanted to do it in order to encourage more men to get them checked. But he you know, it would have been three days if he comes out

today. So wait to see what happens there.

GIOKOS: All right, Max Foster, good to see you. Thank you. Activists have once again sought to vandalize art as a method of protests. And the latest

incident in Paris, two people through pumpkin soup at Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, "The Mona Lisa" leaving some visitors disgusted as well as


Officials saying museum security helped visitors evacuate and the paintings protective case prevented any damage from the food. Environmental protest

is there. As you can see, looks like a new piece of art actually, with the soup all over the Mona Lisa. I have visited the Louvre and I can tell you

with authority that it's covered in plastic and glass so it is absolutely protected. But what a message they're coming through.

Alright, moving on now, the Super Bowl matchup is set after two Hartford conference championship game Sunday. Kansas City and San Francisco will

face off in two weeks. The 49ers is booking their tickets to Las Vegas after a stunning second half comeback. Amanda Davis joins me now to take us

through the action on and off the field.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yeah, Eleni as a repeat of Super Bowl 54 actually which the Chiefs went on one day, of course, defending the Super

Bowl crown, which they won that this time last year, but all eyes now on the road to Las Vegas, a first ever Superbowl taking place in Las Vegas.

We're expecting all the glitz and glam and razzmatazz. And of course the big question now is, will Taylor Swift be there of course, in that

relationship with Travis Kelce? It's a big question because she's due to be performing in Tokyo on February the 10th.

The Superbowl is taking place on February the 11th. If anyone could do it, you suspect she can. But that is what we will be looking at and of course,

some of the sports, just a couple of minutes.

GIOIKOS: You know we talk about balancing things in our lives. Can you imagine having to balance those things? You know, Travis's boyfriends

games, interesting times, Amanda. Anyway, we'll see after the break. I'll be back at the top of the hour, stay with CNN.